A Microsoft patent software for a ‘digital actuality flooring mat’ describes a particular mat which defines a digital playspace and can be utilized for monitoring.
Noticed by Twitter consumer WalkingCat, a Microsoft patent software revealed final week describes a “digital actuality flooring mat exercise area,” a particular mat that may each outline the digital playspace and be used for monitoring.
The paintings within the patent clearly suggests a front room atmosphere the place the VR expertise is powered by a sport console. On the subject of VR on Xbox, Microsoft has had a confused relationship; the corporate had introduced means again in 2016 that VR assist was coming to Xbox One X however then abruptly backpedaled on that call. It has remained mum on the topic ever since, even within the face of the next-gen Xbox ‘Mission Scarlett’ which was revealed earlier this yr.
Microsoft’s digital actuality mat patent software is a curious one. With inside-out monitoring more and more turning into the norm on VR headsets (together with Microsofts personal Home windows VR headsets which had been among the many first to market with the tech), it’s not instantly clear why a particular mat can be essential, however the patent software reveals some attention-grabbing prospects.
Picture courtesy Microsoft
First, the applying describes that the mat would have lively or passive markers on it which might make its location recognized to headsets. Whereas inside-out tracked headsets have to have their playspace boundary outlined, having a mat in your house can be a ‘set it and overlook it’ strategy to defining the playspace. Not solely would this eradicate events the place a system with out such a mat may overlook the boundary and require the consumer to reconfigure it, the mat-defined boundary can be accessible to any headset with out per-device configuration, just like the best way that Valve’s SteamVR Monitoring system can be utilized by any machine that comes into the world with none pairing or configuration with the monitoring system.
With the mat you would even drop inside-out monitoring altogether; the mat may operate as an outside-in monitoring system (the place the headset appears for under the markers on the mat and nothing else). This would cut back the compute necessities in comparison with inside-out monitoring, which in flip may cut back the scale and value of a suitable headset and different gadgets. As an illustration, you would create a a lot inexpensive controller which is tracked with the mat markers fairly than its personal on-board compute.
The mat would additionally facilitate a static and shared coordinate system which might be helpful for multi-user experiences the place two or extra gamers are utilizing a headset on the similar time in the identical area. This might additionally lengthen to AR gadgets like HoloLens, and even the monitoring of non-immersive gadgets like smartphones or tablets, making potential varied hybrid experiences.
And eventually, there’s the human affordance issue. A mat on the ground makes clear to everybody else within the room the place they shouldn’t stand in the event that they don’t wish to threat a haymaker to the noggin when somebody is enjoying a VR boxing sport or related.
The patent software additionally considers a model of the mat which might be primarily based on tiles which may very well be configured into novel shapes and expanded as wanted by customers.
Picture courtesy Microsoft
A lot of the performance described within the patent sounds similar to the strategy of Antilatency which has developed a tile-based outside-in monitoring system with minimal compute necessities which might purposeful effectively with only a single digital camera on the headset. The system is inherently expandable, doesn’t require per-device configuration, helps arbitrary numbers of customers, and may be configured into novel shapes. The corporate is already promoting dev kits for the system which is aimed toward enterprise and business use-cases.
Picture courtesy Antilatency
Microsoft’s digital actuality mat patent software is attributed to inventors Julia Schwarz, Principal Software program Engineer on HoloLens, and Jason Michael Ray, Software program Engineer on HoloLens. The appliance was filed in April 2018 and revealed on October third, 2019, although it has not but been granted.
As ever, it’s value mentioning that enormous corporations file a whole bunch if not hundreds of patents every year as a strategic train; there’s no telling whether or not or not one thing described in a patent will manifest in a product. With out extra proof, patents are greatest interpreted as a glimpse into what an organization is considering fairly than what it’s doing.